Watchmen: 1.04 If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own
After an opening salvo of three pretty full on episodes, If You Don’t Like my Story, Write Your Own slows the tempo down but still maintains the interest and intrigue. In this instalment of Watchmen, the themes of family and legacy are brought to the fore. Everything that transpires reflects our desire to procreate and pass on our collective knowledge. Nowhere is this ethos exemplified more than in the episode’s opening scene.
A new player enters the game in the guise of Lady Trieu. The reclusive trillionaire Trieu has purchased Veidt Industries, the company once run by Ozymandias himself. In a suitably enigmatic entrance, Trieu (Hong Chau) arrives unannounced in the middle of the night at a farmhouse and tells the occupants she wants to buy it. The couple at first refuse, but then Trieu reveals she knows they have tried fertility treatments to no success. From nowhere she has an assistant bring in a baby that she has created for them. She offers the baby plus five million dollars for their farmstead and that they have thirty seconds to decide.
This sort of scenario that just comes completely from left field is exactly what makes Watchmen such interesting viewing. Especially when Trieu just bluntly states that if they don’t sign, she’ll have the baby destroyed. Even though she immediately says she’s joking, you get the feeling that isn’t necessarily the case. Lady Trieu does not seem like someone you say no to. The new parents certainly don’t. As the whole house shakes they all rush outside to see something huge and fiery fall from the sky. “Whats’s that?” asks the new mother. “That”, exclaims Lady Trieu “is mine”.
After the fantastic opening, the episode delves further into Laurie Blake’s investigation into the death of Chief Crawford. Running alongside this, is Angela’s own investigation as she tries to stay one step ahead of Blake. The theme of family is raised again as Angela breaks into the cultural heritage centre to get more details about her parents and grandfather. It would seem that she and Laurie are on a collision course as DNA traces found in Angela’s car (the one that fell from the sky last episode) have been identified as belonging to Will Reeves. Will was a cop in the 1950s and would now be over a hundred years old. Will, it seems, has his own plan as the pills he plants in the car lead directly to Lady Trieu.
En route to Trieu’s enormous Millennium Clock structure yet more family and legacies are evoked as Laurie has Agent Petey reveal her past to Angela. Laurie’s family history is of course a darkly tragic tale wherein her father, The Comedian, first assaulted her mother, the original Silk Spectre. Later, Laurie herself continued her mothers legacy by donning the costume and becoming Silk Spectre II. The investigation scenes are probably the closest things Watchmen has to a conventional narrative. The same cannot be said for what is occurring with Ozymandias.
In this episode’s diversion to the castle of Adrian Veidt (I’m still not 100% convinced that the showrunners aren’t going to pull the rug out from under us with a twist identity reveal) we are still dealing with families in a way. More specifically, Adrian is out in his rowboat and fishing babies out of a lake. This gloriously absurd scene has him throwing back any that don’t make the cut. When satisfied, he returns to the castle and sticks the babies in a chamber that makes them rapidly grow. The result is another two clones who he quickly uses to clean up the corpses of a lot more clones. Much corpse flying then occurs as the trebuchet is pit to good use hurling the deceased clones into the clouds where they disappear into what looks like some sort of energy barrier. This is obviously what is keeping Adrian captive here and he continues to test it for some way of escape. These scenes are some of the shows best, always inventive and quite surreal. The thought of Ozymandias making his escape and finally getting to interact with the rest of the cast is mouthwatering and I hope we don’t have to wait too much longer.
More hints about something big approaching are dropped as we discover that Will has been hiding out with Trieu at her mysterious giant clock structure. When asked about the giant edifice, Trieu just replies enigmatically “oh it’s more than just a clock”. Just as Will is keeping secrets from Angela, so too is Trieu keeping secrets from her daughter. She claims that this is completely different and that when family is involved deals get broken and people get cold feet. In another twist, Will shows that his feet are fine and not so wheelchair bound after all.
If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own is another excellent episode of Watchmen and an example of what television as a medium can achieve. It’s less flashy than its predecessors but the addition of Lady Trieu is a fine one and the plot developments are intriguing. We are left in the shadow of the mysterious Millennium Clock as Lady Trieu reveals whatever is going to happen will happen in three days and Will knows that Angela is going to hate him for it. From what has occurred so far, I still have faith in Lindelof that the reveal is going to be worth it and that we won't have long to wait to find out.
Tick tock tick tock tick tock….